9th Honors English -
Dr. Ray Gen
The Sonnets of William
There are 154 sonnets
attributed to William Shakespeare. The
sonnets were probably composed between 1593 and 1601. The sonnets were published in 1609.
The sonnets are arranged
into three groups. Sonnets 1-126 are
addressed to a handsome, young man. This
young man was loved by and admired by Shakespeare. Sonnets 127-152 involve the "Dark
Lady." This "mistress" of
Shakespeare is loved by him even though she is of questionable character. The last two sonnets are written in the style
of a Greek epigram, i.e., a witty, satirical poem.
Two reoccurring themes are
found in many of these sonnets. The
first is the thought of mortality and its decay of the body. The second theme is the thought that
immortality is found within poetry.
1. Choose a sonnet and log your choice with Mr.
2. Memorize the sonnet for recitation.
3. At the time of recitation, introduce the
sonnet by telling the audience of the sonnet's theme, content, and your
4. Write an interpretive essay on the sonnet you
Guidelines for your
THE TEXT OF THE SONNET.
1. Write a captivating and fascinating
introductory paragraph which initiates your reader to the sonnet, your
interpretation and your essay. Be
clever, yet academic. This paragraph(s)
should foreshadow your intent and set up your approach to the essay and the
sonnet. This introduction should also
provide your reader with the necessary background information if needed. (You may wish to include a personal insight
or experience to orient your reader to the topic at hand.)
2. Identify and analyze the message of the sonnet. What does Shakespeare convey? Demonstrate the speaker's meaning. What do you suppose Shakespeare is trying to
say through this poem?
3. Make sure to offer supportive evidence from
the text of the sonnet. Cite the sonnet
to support your interpretation. This is
the section in which the argumentation takes place and should be the bulk of
the essay. What specific claims are you
making? Are these claims well argued?
4. Be convincing and
authoritative. Take a firm stance and
argue your position.
Peer Response Guide for
Writing an Interpretive Essay
I. On a separate piece of paper write YOUR name,
date and period on the top right corner.
II. Write "PEER RESPONSE FOR
____________ - Interpretive Essay as the title.
(underline person's name)
III. Using complete
sentences, respond to the writing using the following guide:
1. Does the author offer an effective
introductory paragraph. State the approach the author takes in the
2. Does the title of the essay reflect the
content of the essay? Explain.
3. Is there a enough
background information given?
4. Identify the specific claims/arguments made
by the author?
5. Does the author treat the entire
passage? What is left out that should be
6. Does the author substantiate these claims by
use of the text?
7. Is the author convincing?
8. Note errors in grammar. (gr)
9. Note errors in spelling. (sp)
*10. Score the writing with points ranging from 0
to 6 (with 6 being the best score. You
may also use + or -).
[Be honest. Your evaluation is not personal. You are not saying whether you like the
writing or the person. You are
responding to the writing itself based upon the criteria listed above. Be fair - don't be overly harsh nor overly lenient.
If your evaluation differs radically from mine then you will need to
justify your response to me. YOU WILL
RECEIVE A GRADE FOR YOUR EVALUATION.]